The Time is Now


Now that the vote on the referendum on August 1 for a new arena for the Islanders is official, it is not too early to talk it up or spread the word. Just because it seems like a “no brainer” that it should pass without any problems, don’t ever ASSUME. It was truly pure genius by Edward Mangano to plan the vote on a Monday at the beginning of August in which most likely the true Islander fans and supporters of the project will be the ones to make the effort to come out in vote, yet the vote is still two months away from happening.

If you are a Nassau County resident, don’t think it’s too early to begin the push. Make sure your friends, family, relatives and the family and relatives of friends show up to vote on August 1. It is as simple as that. Don’t approach the situation as if there will basically be enough support to pass it and, thus, you don’t have to make the effort to take the time to cast your vote. Perhaps, it should pass without too much effort, but the more resounding of a victory, the better that looks for the team.

Whether you are an Islander fan or not or even a hockey fan, if you live in Nassau County, this plan has too many long term benefits to the county not to pass it. Yes, it’s a $400 million bond, which includes $350 million for the new arena and $50 million for a minor league ball park, but the thousands of jobs that will be created and the potential revenue that will result in this project will only help a county that is facing serious financial difficulties. In tough economic times, which are not improving as much as the media would like us to believe, job creation and long term economic benefits for a county are paramount in the big picture. This doesn’t even touch on the fact that the New York Islanders are Long Island’s team and it is, thus, just as important to keep them right here where they belong.

I am not a Nassau County resident, but if I was, I’d be finding ways to spread the word and push the vote. In fact, I have been hammering people I know who live in the county to make sure that they go out and make the effort to place their vote when the time comes. In fact, whatever I can find to do to help the cause, I am happy to do it to pitch in with my effort. No matter where you live as an Islander fan, we all can do out little part to chip in for the team we love and support.

Despite what some might say, in terms of the Islanders, a new arena will surely give this team badly needed credibility and, of course, long term stability. When you have free agents refusing or declining to sign with the Isles because of their current arena and the question about where they will be after 2015, well, this will definitively settle those doubts. I am certainly a fan of our “old barn” and will cherish the memories of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Colosseum for the rest of my life, but I am also a realist. A new building will do much more to help this franchise than nostalgia could ever do, and there will be championships and fond memories to come to earn its place in our hearts.

From the standpoint of the organization, make no mistakes. Charles Wang and Garth Snow made serious statements already about the commitment of the team to a long term, winning future to coincide with a new arena. Locking down Matt Moulson, Michael Grabner and Kyle Okposo speaks volumes towards this. Securing the core nucleus of the team is exactly what needed to be done to make a statement within itself. Additionally, I have no doubts that we will be seeing other signings and deals as this summer progresses. Hopefully, this will include reaching a long term deal with John Tavares, though he does have one more season on his entry level contract.

The bottom line is the BOTTOM LINE. This vote will only be a win/win for Nassau County and the New York Islanders for several years into the future. No matter what the doubters say to the contrary, even as the fiscal conservative I happen to be, the benefits will far outweigh the investment in the end. It simply makes sense on so many levels, and this doesn’t even include what a minor league ball park will do for the county and a state-of-the-art arena will mean to drawing major bands and artists to perform on long island.

However, as I said above, don’t Assume it will simply pass. There are forces out there working against the plan, and the more noise the supporters make and draw up additional support, the better it will be on August 1 with a solid, unquestionable victory. Therefore, go out on August 1 to vote, YES, but make sure you do your part to assure that there are plenty of other people doing the same thing as you.

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